Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America

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9780060158552: Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America

The first full length study of the history of sexuality in America, Intimate Matters offers trenchant insights into the sexual behavior of Americans, from colonial times to today. D'Emilio and Freedman give us a deeper understanding of how sexuality has dramatically influenced politics and culture throughout our history.

"The book John D'Emilio co-wrote with Estelle B. Freedman, Intimate Matters, was cited by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy when, writing for a majority of court on July 26, he and his colleagues struck down a Texas law criminalizing sodomy. The decision was widely hailed as a victory for gay rights—and it derived in part, according to Kennedy's written comments, from the information he gleaned from D'Emilio's book, which traces the history of American perspectives on sexual relationships from the nation's founding through the present day. The justice mentioned Intimate Matters specifically in the court's decision."—Julia Keller, Chicago Tribune

"Fascinating. . . . [D'Emilio and Freedman] marshall their material to chart a gradual but decisive shift in the way Americans have understood sex and its meaning in their lives." —Barbara Ehrenreich, New York Times Book Review

"[With] comprehensiveness and care . . . D'Emilio and Freedman have surveyed the sexual patters for an entire nation across four centuries." —Martin Bauml Duberman, Nation

"Intimate Matters is comprehensive, meticulous and intelligent." —Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World

"This book is remarkable. . . . [Intimate Matters] is bound to become the definitive survey of American sexual history for years to come." —Roy Porter, Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences

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From the Publisher:

A fascinating, hard look at the history of American attitudes toward sex. "A grown-up book about a subject about which we can be astonishingly childish."--Washington Post Book World

From Publishers Weekly:

The history of sexuality in the U.S. is not a progressive jump from repression to freedom, the authors maintain. Instead, sexuality has been continually remolded in each era, reflecting the dictates of economics, family structure and politics. This interpretive framework lends coherence to a sweeping survey peopled with anti-prostitution crusaders and free-love advocates, celibate Shakers and swingers, vice cops and sexologists. Today's commercialized sexuality, promising personal fulfillment through intimate relations, is contrasted with the family-centered, reproductive sexuality of the prudish New England colonists who nevertheless produced bastards and engaged in adultery, sodomy and rape. The authors cram into 400 pages balanced discussions of racial sex-stereotyping, Chinese slave rings, abortion, same-sex relationships, women's rights and AIDS-engendered conservatism. D'Emilio is the author of Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities; Freedman wrote The Lesbian Issue. Illustrations.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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